Automation Will Kill Us All
It’s your company. You started it as a small idea and turned it into something people can’t live without. You know what’s best for your company and the best direction to take it. As such, you don’t really welcome outside influence or suggestions on the direction your company is taking. Your company has had the same logo for 10 years, and it’s really showing wear. The mark doesn’t really even represent what you think your company stands for anymore. Clearly, it’s time for a re-branding. Why don’t you fire up your computer, and create your own logo. After all, it’s your company.
It’s your colon. You’ve had it your entire life. Over the years you’ve helped it grow into a happy colon. Your colon has always been your responsibility and you know what’s best for it. Your colon has developed a cancerous tumor. You are in constant pain, and can’t take it anymore. Clearly, the tumor needs to be removed. Why don’t you sterilize a scalpel and surgically remove it yourself. After all, it’s your colon.
Absurd, right? You may think it’s a bit harsh to compare a life threatening condition to the state of your company, but is it really? Your company is full of employees who depend on the income you can produce. Still not life-threatening, but nothing to shake a stick at either. These people place their livelihood in your hands, and you take a short-cut. Ah, the quick-fix. My services are a waste of time and money because all I really am is a pair of hands. Why should people pay me to design a logo when they can design one themselves?
I recently came across another low-cost logo site called LogoYes. I get lots of emails advertising logo’s for as little as $99, but LogoYes is taking this one step further by offering users a nice little Flash application that allows them to build an “original” logo from their vault of type and images. Do you ever wonder why designers have trouble gaining respect while helping clients understand the importance of their services? It’s this mentality (from the LogoYes site):
In just a few minutes, you can build an original logo without the costly, time-consuming process of working with a graphic designer (who must guess what you’ll like).
Yes. We are designers, we are guessers. I spent years in school learning about design history, theory, promotional ideas and creative thinking to sit back and blindly throw darts at a wall. I mean, as far as a client is concerned, they probably think we smack something together like you can on LogoYes.
There has always been a battling misconception with technological advancements; movable type would kill the hand-letterer, photography would kill the painter, desktop publishing would kill the designer, and the list goes on. Why? Common thought is that technology will place everyone on equal footing. Now that Joe CEO has a computer with Photoshop (or “Adobe” as many people seem to call it), he has been christened a designer. He can leave the design agency he has been using behind; his computer now fills in the gaps.
Plain and simple, technology does not take the place of good ideas. You pay a specialist for a reason. I don’t get under the hood of my car and ask the mechanic to use a different oil filter. I am paying him for his knowledge and experience, and I pay a premium price because I want the job done right.
You can say that a DIY logo is a good idea, and you are entitled to your opinions. There are circumstances when a fast and cheap logo makes sense. Does Tony Luke’s Pizza really need an expensive logo that breaks new boundaries in the restaurant business? Well, that’s a question for Tony Luke. LogoYes is threatening. Not because I feel like they have achieved a level of work I can’t, but because they contribute to the already size-able pile of shit I have to weed through in order to convince a client of the value of good design. Occupations for designers and artists have remained intact for centuries for a reason: people who recognize a specialist for what they are, pay for quality work. I know this is a volatile can of worms, but please, chime in.